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Health and Safety legislation seriously flawed

Published: Mon 21 Oct 2002 02:53 PM
Health and Safety legislation seriously flawed - National
The controversial Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill is a disaster for employers, workers, and voluntary organisations, says National’s Industrial Relations spokesperson Roger Sowry.
National has prepared a minority report on the Bill, which reported back from the Select Committee today. The proposed law includes stress and fatigue as an official workplace hazard, but with no legal definitions.
“The Bill is anti-business. It will cost employers, even good ones, large amounts of time and money.
“The new law proposes a massive increase in the maximum fine for employers, from $100,000 to $500,000. The point of this change seems to be encouraging compliance through the threat of financial ruin, but destroying a business harms workers just as much as the employer.
“Instead of just using a sledgehammer, there should be incentives and lower premiums to encourage safer workplaces.
“Including volunteers in this legislation is a serious mistake. Volunteerism is deeply embedded in the New Zealand way of life but the Bill threatens to destroy this by placing huge financial risks on organisations that use volunteers.
“The Government shouldn’t ignore the large number of substantive submissions – 409 out of 594 – who were opposed to this dangerous law,” said Mr Sowry.

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